May 19, 2020

COVID-19: how the oil and gas sector can remain resilient 

Technology
Oil and Gas
Cybersecurity
Leah Netabai
2 min
COVID-19: how the oil and gas sector can remain resilient 

Business Chief takes a look at the African Energy Chambers', key recommendations for the oil and gas sector amidst economic uncertainty.

As industry and countries around the world go into lockdown following the continuation of COVID-19, economic analysts and energy asset operators are predicting that 2020 will see a negative demand growth for the oil and gas sector globally. With negative economic impact also being forecasted for the electricity, renewable energy, and mining industries. 

As a result companies who control and manage the critical energy infrastructure and natural resource assets, need to maintain vigilance against physical, cyber, and technical security threats as they deal with these colliding events.

This resilience is essential to the economy, security and overall quality of life for all citizens in Africa and worldwide. 

“Indications and warnings are illuminating the fact that terrorists, hostile state actors, criminals, hackers for hire, and vandals are currently planning to take advantage of our current state of chaos,” declared C. Derek Campbell, CEO of US-based Energy & Natural Resource Security Inc (ENRS). 

“We continue to support a lot of energy companies in Africa to mitigate the hostile actions of those with ill-intent. In uncertain times like these, it is companies’ efforts against unexpected threats that ensure that their assets maintain continuity of operations during these trying times,” he added.

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Key recommendations:

  • Assess and review current cybersecurity posture against protocols 

  • Monitor your employees and be aware of the IT methods and platforms used

  • With the help of local staff, engage with communities within a 5 to 10-mile radius to gain an understanding of the atmosphere around your asset

  • Spot check your existing security measures to ensure they are fully functional

  • Request a security assessment during operational downtime to gain an understanding of vulnerabilities and levels of assumed risk

“The African Energy Chamber takes security threats in Africa extremely seriously and such risks should not be downplayed when our industry faces turmoil and price instability,” commented Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber. 

“ENRS is a key partner for us and their best-in-class security solutions are what owners, operators, investors and insurers should be implementing to maintain the continuity of their operations and mitigate risk throughout their asset’s operational life cycle.”

For more information on business topics in Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief EMEA.

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

GfK
VMware
3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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